Consistency wins day for Artemis
Artemis Racing emerged as event champions at the Louis Vuitton America's Cup World Series Chicago.
Perfect winds, cooler temperatures and a record-breaking crowd of more than 200,000 lining Chicago's Navy Pier, combined to make Super Sunday, the final day of the regatta, an exciting finale.
The six America's Cup teams fought fiercely for the double points on offer for each of yesterday's races, with Artemis finishing on 61, three ahead of Land Rover BAR on 58 and SoftBank Team Japan on 56.
Nathan Outteridge, the Artemis Racing skipper, admitted relief was the overriding emotion after claiming the overall victory.
“We finally had a very good day of weather and our team rose to the occasion,” he said. “We recorded nothing worse than a fourth all week, and we said at the start of the week that finishing top three in every race would be good enough to win, and we did just that.
“The champagne at the end tasted very sweet. I quite like champagne, especially the Moët that was given to us, and when you get to spray a huge bottle all your team-mates when you've won, that's a very special feeling.”
In race two, the first of yesterday's action, Land Rover BAR took the honours after a very strong start, putting more air between them and the pack at the first mark and then leading from the front throughout the rest of the race.
Race three started with Groupama Team France first across the start line, but Artemis Racing continued their strong weekend form and grabbed the lead early and, despite pressure from Oracle Team USA right to the end, crossed the finish line first for the second time over the weekend.
In race four, the last competitive action of the weekend, began with five of the six teams crossing the start line together, but after a slew of penalties were handed out to a number of boats after the first mark, it was SoftBank Team Japan who were in clear air and would lead the pack though to the finish, recording their second race win of the weekend.
“I'm absolutely thrilled with the performance of our team here,” Dean Barker, the Team Japan skipper, said.
“We had some fantastic results on the practice day and today, and even though we were a little bit disappointed with our starts in the first two races, the guys did a great job battling back to win the last race, and we're just all really happy.”
Emirates Team New Zealand retain their position at the top of the overall World Series leaderboard ahead of Land Rover BAR and Oracle Team USA.
“It was sensational racing today and to come away with our overall lead still intact is fantastic,” Glenn Ashby, the Emirates Team New Zealand skipper, said.
Despite being disappointed with a fifth-place finish, Jimmy Spithill, the Oracle skipper, said he was pumped up by the response of the fans.
“It was unreal here,” he said. Let's hope this becomes a regular stop on the series.
“The racecourse is awesome. All weekend we saw the huge crowds and we all had great support. I hope we're coming back.”
With wind too light to start racing on time in Chicago, the substitute race that was sailed on Saturday afternoon was scored as race one of the whole event.
For SoftBank Team Japan, there was a measure of justice in having the race count for something.
In New York, the team won the substitute race, but it was never used. Here in Chicago, with winds too light and unstable to start on time, the substitute race was inserted in the television broadcast and counted on the leaderboard.
The World Series returns to Portsmouth next month, with racing to be held on July 23 and 24.
Chicago: Artemis Racing 61pts; Land Rover BAR 58; SoftBank Team Japan 56; Emirates Team New Zealand 53; Oracle Team USA 49; Groupama Team France 40
Overall: Emirates Team New Zealand 295pts; Land Rover BAR 285; Oracle Team USA 285; Artemis Racing 262; SoftBank Team Japan 259; Groupama Team France 234